Celebrating Young Adult fiction by UK authors



A&E, casualty: ER

A-Z: Map of London

After Eight:  delicious chocolate mint

Aggro: aggressiveness

Alcopops: sweet drinks that are surprisingly high in alcohol content.

Ant and Dec: smirking presenters of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here

Ass: a donkey

Arse: ass

ASBO: Anti-Social Behaviour Order. Given to badly behaved people. About to be abolished by new British government.

Asda – Cheap supermarket.

Athletics squad: track team

Aubergine: Eggplant


Balaclava: Ski mask

Baps: Hamburger buns. Or sometimes breasts.

Benefits: Welfare

Bin: garbage can

Birmingham: city in the middle of England

Biscuits: cookies

Bollocks: literally testicles. Means rubbish.

Boozer: a public house, or pub is a place to go for a drink. You have to be 18 before you can buy alcohol.

Bottle: Courage, e.g. “They got no bottle” No bottle = no courage.

Braces: Suspenders

Bruce Forsyth: ancient presenter of Strictly Come Dancing.

Bugger: Literally sodomist. Just a mild expletive.

Bum: ass

Bum bag: Fanny pack


CV: resume

Candyfloss: cotton candy

Canteen: cafeteria

Caravan: Camper

Car park: parking lot

Cash point, ‘Hole in the Wall’: ATM

CBeebies: Children’s television channel

Cellar: Basement

Charity shop: thrift shop

Chav: British word for ‘working class person that I despise, even if I am working class myself’

Chemist: pharmacist or drugstore

Chequebook: check book

Chip butty: A sandwich filled with fries

Chuffed: pleased

Citizenship: civics

Coriander: cilantro

Cotton: thread

Crisps: chips


Daft, thick: Stupid

Diversion: Detour

Drawing pin: Tack

Dressing gowns:  robes

Dummy: Pacifier

Dustbin: garbage/trash can

Duvet: Comforter


Estate – A council estate is an area of social housing provided by the local government. You can also have an estate of private housing

Eurostar: train from London to France. It goes through the Eurotunnel, which goes under the sea.


Fanny: girls’ bits

Fag: cigarette

Fag end: cigarette butt

Fairy lights: Christmas lights

Flannel: washcloth. Or talk designed to mislead (‘He gave me a load of flannel’)

Flat: apartment

Football: soccer. The national sport, alongside cricket and rugby. The top league is called the Premier League and top teams include Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal  (‘the Gunners’), Tottenham Hotspur (‘Spurs’) and Liverpool.

Fringe:  bangs (hairstyle)

Fry up: lots of fried food altogether on one plate – sausage, bacon, egg, tomato, mushrooms

Full stop: period


GBH: Grievous Bodily Harm. One step down from attempted murder.

GP: family doctor

Gammon: ham

Garden: yard

Gherkin: pickle

Girls Aloud: Girl band. Featuring Cheryl Cole former X Factor judge.

Git: Rude word for someone you don’t like

“Grass me up”: tell the police about me.

Goosepimples: Goose bumps


Hair slide: barrette

Hanky:  Kleenex is the nearest, according to my American friends, but we’d call Kleenex ’tissues’ and a hanky is a cloth handkerchief.

Headteacher: principal

Heavies: big scary thugs

High-rise: tall block of public sector apartments

High street: Main street

Hire: rent

Hob: stovetop


Ice lolly : popsicle

I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here: reality show in which various Z-list celebrities camp out in the jungle and are tortured for public entertainment.


Knickers: panties


Lidl: Discount supermarket

Loo: toilet

Lucozade: revolting sugary drink they give you when you are ill.


Marks and Spencer: shop which sells mostly clothes but also expensive food.

Mates: friends

Metropolitan Police: the police force which covers London. Also known as the Met. Headquarters are Scotland Yard, or The Yard.

Minger: Ugly girl. Pronounced to rhyme with singer, not ginger.

Mobile (phone): cell phone


Naff: poor quality and a bit stupid

Newsagents: place to buy newspapers, magazines, cigarettes (aka fags) and candy…which we call sweets

Nightie: Nightdress


Off Licence:  package store

Open University: university which lets anyone study by mail.

Oxfam: thrift shop

Oyster Card: a pre-paid card used to travel on buses and the underground in London.


PE kit: things you wear for sport

Pants: underpants. Or if you say something is pants, it’s rubbish

Pavement: sidewalk

Petrol: gas

Petrol bomb: A very basic explosive device.

Poofter: homophobic insult

Porridge: hot oatmeal

Post: mail

Poxy: bad

Pram-face: Rude name for teenage mother

Prat: stupid person

PSHE – personal, social and health education. Where they teach you about puberty.


Queuing: waiting in line


Radio Four: BBC radio station which mainly features middle class presenters and announcers.

Reception: Pre-K

Rubbish bin: garbage/trash can

Rubbish tip: garbage dump


Scallions: spring onions

School: Find out more about the British School system here

Semi: a semi-detached house, i.e. two houses stuck together.

Shag: to have sex

Slapper: derogatory name for a promiscuous girl.

Smarties: multi-coloured candy, chocolate discs with hard sugar coating

Snappy Snaps: Chain of photo-processing shops

Snog: kiss +++

Solicitor: a kind of lawyer

Soppy: silly, girly, sentimental

Stella: Stella Artois,a popular brand of beer

‘Stop and search’: Power allowing police to search people they suspect may be about to commit a crime. It is often criticised as racist, because more black people are stopped and searched than white ones.

Strictly Come Dancing: UK version of Dancing with the Stars generally known in the UK as Strictly.

Stroppy: moody, obstinate

Sweets: candy


Taps: Faucets

Tea: might be a meal you have in the evening. Or could be the drink –  which is generally drunk with added milk.

Telly: television.

Tesco: Supermarket. Slightly more expensive than Asda

Tossers: literally masturbators. Means idiots.

Towie: Stands for The Only Way is Essex. Hit  ‘scripted reality’ TV show.

Trainers: running shoes.

Trousers: pants

Tumble dryer:  clothes dryer


Can’t find what you’re looking for? Try the wonderful Separated by a Common Language